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Columb says goodbye after 58 years on the city’s roads

Published Thursday, 30 August 2018

Council worker Columb McCoy has decided to put his feet up at the age of 80 after an incredible 58 year career of keeping the city’s roads in order.


Columb, is thought to be one of Britain’s longest serving local government employees, after starting back in 1960 at the age of 22.

He joined as a road worker, helping to build some of the roads and highways around the city – and he has been involved in major projects such as building the city’s Ring Road and Broadgate. In his 58 years he has helped to resurface over 300 miles of pavements and roads, which is enough to get from Coventry to Glasgow! That’s also 150 times around the Ring Road!

Columb said: “When I started we had a horse and cart still and you had to shovel the tar off the cart by hand. We had a tin hut with a brazier outside and there were stables for the Council’s horses in Leicester Causeway.

“There’s been lots of changes and I’ve enjoyed it and I still plan to keep busy after I retire.”

When Columb started there was no big equipment, he had a shovel, a pick and a jackhammer for breaking the ground when it was needed.

He spent 15 years based in the city centre and since 1975 has been out and about around the city, carrying out a variety of work on the roads to help keep the city moving.

Cllr Jayne Innes, Cabinet Member City Services, said: “One of my favourite things about being a councillor is getting to meet lots of interesting people and I’ve loved hearing Columb’s stories.

“He truly deserves to put his feet up now, and everyone at the Council wishes him a long and happy retirement.” 

Lord Mayor Cllr John Blundell presented Columb with a retirement gift and said: “It is an amazing length of service and Columb should be very proud of his time at Coventry City Council. He still has a great work ethic at 80 and I am sure he won’t be sitting back and taking things easy!

“Together with his colleagues he has been involved in some great projects around the city and he has worked in all weathers to make life better for motorists and pedestrians over an incredible six decades. He will be missed by all who work with him and we wish him well.”

Neil Cowper, Head of Highways at Coventry City Council, added: “It’s been a real pleasure having Columb in our team for such a long time, and I’m sorry that I’ve only known him for part of his amazing journey. His commitment to the Council over 58 years is exemplary and I hope he can relax now and enjoy his retirement.”

Columb also helped to build parts of the M1 in the late 1950s.

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